What to do in Ohakune When the Mountain is Closed

It’s raining sideways! Since arriving in Ohakune yesterday we haven’t even seen Mt Ruapehu, the ski field mountain that Ohakune sits at the base of. It’s fair to say that we are not going to be snowboarding in the next couple of days. Next on our Ohakune wishlist is to going biking on the Ohakune Old Coach Road. However, did we mention it’s raining sideways? There are some brutal winds blasting through the town so we are not sure we’re going to have as awesome an experience as we know we could have. No worries! Having “mountain closed” days is not an uncommon thing for this isolated mountain that attracts varying elements, so we are determined to beat the boredom and still have a blast in Ohakune! Our mission: find something to do in Ohakune when the mountain is closed.

Board games with Ohakune’s Carrot cake queen

Free breakfast is served at daKune Lodge, along with some conversation with the owners, Nicolas and Tasha. Robin mentions that he is impressed by the amount of board games in the lodge and how he is loves playing board games. (Read any of our blog posts involving op-shops and you’ll see Robin’s obsession).

“I love playing board games too!” Tasha exclaims. For the rest of the morning we are engaged in an epic Cluedo playing session. To make things better, Tasha offers us some carrot cake saying that she has been crowned Carrot Cake Queen of Ohakune at the Carrot Festival. Finally! We are having a carrot experience in Ohakune! We’ll be honest, when we saw that giant carrot at the entrance to the town, we thought that would be our last run-in with carrots in Ohakune. When carrots come in the form of delicious carrot cake, we are glad it was not.

Carrot cake in the Carrot Capital of New Zealand! Carrot cake in the Carrot Capital of New Zealand!
Coffee in just another coffee shop in New Zealand! Coffee in just another coffee shop in New Zealand!

Coffee recharge

Cluedo ends with Robin and Tasha sealing in some wins, while Laura miserably fails, as per usual. The best way to cheer Laura up though is by having coffee. This also gives us an excuse to walk around town for a bit. By walk, we mean run because it is still raining sideways.

It’s a simple thing, but it’s really nice to relax and just have a coffee after the crazy life we have been living over the past couple of months travelling around New Zealand, doing activities every single day! Actually, thank you, rain, for forcing us to sit and relax for a couple of hours in an Ohakune cafe so we can recharge, chill out and…

… Is that an indoor climbing wall?!

There’s a building taller than the rest saying with a sign for “Vertigo Climbing”. In fact, our hostel host, Nicolas, had mentioned that we should definitely go visit Mike at Vertigo Climbing for a fun rainy day activity. Both of us haven’t done climbing since we were kids but with the climbing wall right there, we are keen to give it a go!

With the climbing wall just behind a ski rental shop, we know this guy, Mike, has it sussed. There’s ski gear rental for when the mountain is open and an indoor action alternative for when the ski field is closed.

After our harnesses are on and we are safety briefed for the clip n’ climb (meaning you just clip yourself in and start climbing – no need for another person to hold onto your ropes). Then we have about 15 different walls and sections to choose from. For practice, there is a transparent wall in the middle of the room perfect for racing. It’s on!

Use those legs, Laura! Use those legs, Laura!
The ice climb The ice climb
Racing on something a bit more challenging! Racing on something a bit more challenging!

Climbing showdown!

“3, 2, 1…” Mike counts down as we lie with our backs on the floor for starting position, “Go!” And, we’re off like Spider-Man crawling up the wall. (Or at least that’s what we like to think). It comes as no big surprise that Robin wins. Now that we’re pumped we are trying out the rest of the walls!

One side of the room is a mock-up rock wall with overhangs and cracks to navigate over. Man, this is a challenge! Laura is trying for ages to just get over the first overhang. It’s a challenge we want to face over and over again. If we were here over the rest of the winter season, we would happily be in here tackling these walls until we one day would reach the top of every climb! Until then, we will accomplish the ice wall climb, the timed climb, the lightning bolt climb, the square bricks, the ropes, the army assault course, the ladder, and whatever else we can climb!

Mission accomplished

Climbing has taken us pretty late into the evening and worked up an appetite. As we are eating at a gourmet burger joint, The Blind Finch, which is the only place that we could find still serving food past 9pm, we are wandering why it’s taken us so long to try a climbing wall again? For some reason we have always dismissed climbing. Yet, we had heaps of fun today, it can be a real challenge if you want it to be, and it’s extremely affordable. AND, it’s something to do on a rainy day. We think that’s mission accomplished for today: finding something to do in Ohakune when the mountain is closed.

Laura and Robin

Take a look around the Vertico Climbing Centre!
Take a look around the Vertico Climbing Centre! Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Want more?

It’s obvious that you do! Check out these articles for more awesome things to do in Ruapehu:

For more Ohakune recommendations and to meet other travellers in Ohakune, follow us on the HerePin app. Plus, remember to like us on Facebook and use #BackpackerGuideNZ on Instagram!

See you tomorrow for a day of mystery (as we still have to decide what we are doing).

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Comments
  1. i love this website its great for my kids

    Comment avatar sky
    24/12/2017 at 2:48 pm
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